Cycling

Red Letter Day


Today will go down as a milestone on my road to Puglia 2010. Many good things have happened, one an out of the blue but “why didn’t I think of that earlier?” idea that I shall come to in a few moments (the map on the left is a clue).
The mundane things first! My books have arrived, despite the best efforts of the Royal Mail. The Long Distance Cyclists’ Handbook looks excellent on a quick leaf through. Reprinted in 2007, it is the most up-to-date version available and I am looking forward to delving into the detail sometime this week. My only reservation is the number of black and white photos of Lycra-clad people. Not a great fan of Lycra myself and the people are all wearing those head to toe advertisement-riddled outfits that make them look like Tour de France rejects. No advertising or Lycra for me. I shall do my cycling with a bit of style.
The other book, “Vroom With A View” is equally tantalising, despite the fact that its pages are rather yellow from having spent too long on the shelf of the Amazon warehouse next to the M1. I read the “prologue” whilst sipping a cappucino in town earlier and the guy who wrote it – Peter Moore – clearly went through the same kind of mid-life frustration as me. A quote from the prologue: “I hadn’t been particularly worried about turning forty. In fact, I’d read a newspaper article only the week before that declared it is the new thirty…. but there were still things that I wanted to do, goals I’d set myself but yet to be scored….” His plan was to moped around Italy on a Vespa, mine to is cycle there.
The big news of the day however, is a decision I have just made. So important is this decision that it merited a Twitter (see opposite): this summer, I am going to cycle to Yorkshire! Why didn’t I think of this stepping point to a cycle to the tip of Italy before? It is perfect on so many levels that means some bullet points are required:
– It’s a short-term focus for my training (which still hasn’t really kicked in big time as I view August 2010 as sixteen months away, which, errr, it is
– It will allow me to test out all of the knowledge about long-distance cycling that I am about to acquire from the book I am about to read
– It will give me a clear indication as to what distance I can realistically cover in one day
– It will allow me to see if my current bike is up to the challenge
– It will tick the box of having done something adventurous with my summer
There are some down points. For example, there will be some costs involved (although nowhere near as many as for Puglia 2010) and it will require me to put some serious training in before August, but on the whole, the positives outweigh the negatives by a mile!
As a little footnote, after having drunk my cappucino this morning, I popped into Waterstones to see if there are any books about cycling in the UK. There are (no surprise there) but Lonely Planet are publishing a brand new book on the first of July called “Cycling Britain”. Serendipity.

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Categories: Cycling

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